1 John 4:20 (Berean Study Bible)
If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
We all know the saying ‘remove the log in your eye before you address the speck in another's’.’ It can be difficult to identify faults in ourselves, especially when we don’t understand the nuances of our own lives. What should we do when our own internal hypocrite has slid under the radar of everyone around us, including ourselves?
There are a lot of famous hypocrites mentioned in the Bible, some by name and others by association. The Pharisees are some of the most commonly targeted groups. However, there are many Biblical figures that did not seek to be hypocrites, but found the path to be much easier and less scary to follow than sticking to truth. The Apostle Peter denying Christ at the Cross is an excellent example of this.
There is a very simple definition for a hypocrite, or ‘Pharisee’ in this case: a person who says one thing and then does something entirely different. This exemplifies a ‘one foot in one foot out’ kind of faith, in which we profess to believe one thing and yet fail to hold on to it while no one is looking. This leads to all sorts of secret sins and shameful guilt, much of which flies under the radar of our conscious minds.
But not all hypocrisy is out of sight. Some of it lives inside our very bodies.
Our most painful moments of hypocrisy are done in full view of ourselves, battling against our carnal natures for dominance. This is often known as the ‘human nature’ side of our bodies, or the part of our mortal selves that cannot be separated from our eternal souls (in this world). These are the same bodies that crumple from disease, seek hedonistic pleasures, and are tempted by Satan every single day. This part of ourselves is an internal hypocrite, fighting against our souls and spirits to come out on top.
Our internal hypocrite has a lot to say about our daily lives. “Why don’t you sleep in rather than pray?,” or “I know this is wrong, but I’m only doing it once,” or “Other people do it anyway, it doesn’t matter,” are all common statements we make.
How do we battle against a hypocrite that dwells inside our own bodies?
Luke 11:39-41 reveals some of Christ’s thoughts on the matter: “Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40 You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.”
Our inner selves and outer selves were handmade by the Lord Himself, carefully weaved in intricate detail. If we are to follow God’s teachings and mandates, such as being generous to the poor, the Lord will cleanse our spirits and guide us through the war of the internal hypocrite.
Like the Pharisees, we are clean cups on the outside, but filled with earthly desires and wickedness on the inside. If we are to allow the Lord to work in our hearts and minds, we can be made clean and pure again. Friend, trust the Lord to work on your internal hypocrite today!
In what ways could you be practicing your faith in hypocrisy today? What steps can you take to avoid doing so in the future? Make a list of verses that will help you stay on the path of Righteousness, beginning with verses from the Old Testament. Remember, all of us fall short of the Glory of God, no matter how hard we try. Falling off the bandwagon isn’t the end of your relationship with God: it’s a sign of your need for Christ’s love and grace. Release your hypocrisy to the Lord today!
Matthew 7:5 (New English Standard Version)
5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.
James 1:26 (Berean Study Bible)
26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless.